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Cheesy Chicken and Rice

All in one type dishes are some of my favorite meals. They are quick, easy, and can often be made in advance. This cheesy chicken and rice contains spinach as well, so four out of the five food groups are covered! Just add fruit on the side and you’ve got a simple, delicious, complete meal.


There are a few steps that need to be thought through ahead of time. The spinach needs some time to thaw and drain. I often forget this, and so I run it under hot water until thawed and then squeeze it until most of the water has been removed. Removing the water is an important step, otherwise you’ll end up with a soggy dinner.

The rice should be prepared according to the package. The finished volume should equal two cups. Sometimes, if I’m cooking rice earlier in the week, I’ll go ahead and make two extra cups for this dish to save me 20 minutes.

This is a great opportunity to use up that leftover chicken you have in the fridge. Depending on what seasonings you originally used, it will change up the dish a little, but that makes for a fun slightly different dish each time! I almost use a different type of chicken each time I prepare this dish. I’ll use leftover roast chicken, grilled chicken; or if I know I won’t have any on hand I’ll either buy chicken and bake it or purchase the prepackaged cooked chicken. The prepackaged chicken is a little more expensive, so I try to only use it if I’m really pressed for time and completely out of leftovers.

Once the rice and chicken are cooked and the spinach has been thawed and drained, the remaining steps are super simple. Melt the butter and let it cool, then beat the eggs. Next, combine all ingredients into a large bowl except the mozzarella cheese. Pour the mixture in a greased 13 X 9 baking dish and top with the mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Enjoy your hot, cheesy chicken and rice!

Serve with fruit for a complete meal filled with each of the food groups. If you need a more vegetables with your meal than the spinach that’s included in the dish, this pairs great with a light salad on the side.

*This dish also makes a great side dish! Omit the chicken and cook according to directions.

**This dish can be made in advance and frozen for later. Prepare according to directions up until baking. Cover well and freeze. When ready to cook, thaw overnight and bake 45 minutes covered and 10-15 minutes uncovered. 



Cheesy Chicken and Rice

This delicious cheesy chicken and rice is quick, simple, and can be made in advance for a quick weekday dinner.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Servings: 12 people

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Cooked rice
  • 2 cups Cooked, chopped chicken
  • 1/3 cup Melted butter
  • 1 cup Shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup Milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 10 oz pkg Frozen Spinach
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper
  • 2 cloves Minced Garlic

Instructions

  • Thaw and drain frozen spinach.
  • Cook rice according to package. Finished volume should equal 2 cups.
  • Melt butter and allow it to cool.
  • Gently beat eggs.
  • Combine all ingredients, except mozzarella cheese.
  • Pour mixture into a greased 13 x 9 baking pan.
  • Top with mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

*This dish also makes a great side dish! Omit the chicken and cook according to directions.
**This dish can be made in advance and frozen for later. Prepare according to directions up until baking. Cover well and freeze. When ready to cook, thaw overnight and bake 45 minutes covered and 10-15 minutes uncovered. 

Jessica Barnes, PhD, RDN, LD

Dr. Jessica Barnes received her PhD in nutrition from Texas Woman's University. Her research focused on food preference development and creating materials to help preschoolers become familiar with healthy foods. She has worked with families and communities as a clinical and community Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

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